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A Guide to Writing Cold Emails: 5 Steps for Success

By: Sue Kim

In today's digital age, cold emails have become invaluable for creating new online connections, whether it's with a peer in your industry, a prospective mentor or a prospective employer. Yet, many of us are not taught and do not know how to write a cold email that is not only effective but also elicits a response. In this blog, we'll explore the five steps that will help you master the craft of writing cold emails.

1) Research the Recipient

Successful cold emails start with research. The more you understand about your recipient, the more tailored and relevant your email can be. A well-researched cold email not only displays your genuine interest and the effort you put into your communication but also sets the foundation for building a meaningful relationship.

2) The Power of Personalization

Hand in hand with research is personalization. Just as you'd customize your cover letter for each job application, crafting personalized cold emails is vital. Your recipients are more likely to respond when they see that your message is specific to them. Highlight how their unique background and expertise can be of value to you. What knowledge or skills do you hope to gain from their insights?

3) Craft an Intriguing Subject Line

Imagine the subject line as the bait on your hook, enticing recipients to read your message. If the subject line doesn't pique their curiosity, your email may be lost in the sea of their inbox. Keep it concise, engaging and direct to ensure they not only open your email but also feel compelled to respond.

4) Demonstrate Your Value

While you've conducted research on your recipient, they may not know much about you. To motivate people to take their time to respond to your cold email, you have to convey that you are worth the investment and what you bring to the table. A strategy that I personally use is to leverage commonalities that you share with the recipient. For example, if you both attended Boston University and more specifically, was an Account Supervisor in PRLab, take advantage of this shared experience to explain not only why you are reaching out but also why they should consider helping you.

5) The Call-to-Action

Every email should conclude with a call-to-action that brings your cold email one step closer to its objective. This should clearly articulate the purpose of your email and specify what you are seeking from the recipient, whether it's a coffee chat, general feedback, or introducing you to a hiring manager.

By following these five steps, you will build a solid foundation for writing compelling cold emails. Remember that each step is interconnected, and when executed well, they work together to increase the likelihood of receiving a positive response from your recipients. Mastering the art of cold emails is not just about making a connection; it's about creating lasting relationships that can shape your future.


About the Author:

Sue Kim is a third-year student from San Francisco, California studying Public Relations and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She is currently an Account Supervisor at PRLab for Advanced Remarketing Services and Wheelock Center for Future Readiness. This past summer, Sue was a Corporate & Internal Communications Intern at Roku. Outside PRLab, she is the Vice President of Boston University Public Relations Student Society of America, the Public Relations & Social Media Assistant for the Hariri Institute for Computing and Operations Team member of Phi Chi Theta Zeta Chapter.

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